HEAD COACH KYLE SHANAHAN
(On what he expected from Richard Sherman and what the 49ers have gotten from him) "You know, I never knew Richard before he got here. I just had seen him on TV and I had seen him playing against him. I wasn't a huge fan of playing against him and stuff, so I really wanted to get to know the guy. We met and went out to dinner the first night, had about a four-hour dinner and I really liked him. He's very up-front, spoke the truth, said how he felt but I was impressed that he could carry conversations. You could have different opinions. He was very intelligent and could understand what I meant and what he meant. I always loved him as a player. I knew the big question was going to be could he return and get healthy coming off of that big injury and he put a lot of time into working. He's battled through it throughout this year. I think he's had some games where he's been more healthy than others, but he's found a way to come out and have a real good year for us and help us a ton and I've loved how he's handled himself here in our building."
(On Richard Sherman's return to Seattle) "I think just like all human beings, of course there's got to be (some emotion), but I haven't seen it personally. I saw him Monday here in the building, we gave him Tuesday off and then I've been here all day today with him on Wednesday and it's been just like any other week for him but just like any player going to his former team and especially a guy of Richard's caliber and how he played there and what he did while he was there in Seattle, I know it's got to be a big deal to him and real important."
(On Nick Mullens playing at CenturyLink Field) "I think he's going to handle it the same way he's really handled every situation since he's been here. I mean, Nick started out as just a practice squad guy or really, came here and didn't get any reps when he first got here as the fourth quarterback in camp and he'd get about one rep a day but he was always working like he was the main guy in the building and always finding time to do it. When he did get his opportunity – last year, most of his reps were on scout team safety for us. When he did get his opportunity this year because of an injury, he kept working the same way he had all the time and he went in there, acted the same. He's always locked in. The guys respect him for that. He's been that way for these three games. Nothing's changed and it'll be a huge challenge for him going to Seattle. It's always tough to play on the road but if you haven't been to Seattle, you don't realize that that's different than most places. It's as loud as any stadium there is on the planet so it will be a challenge for him but just knowing Nick and how he's been here the last two years, he'll handle it the exact same way he does every other single day of his life."
(On how he would assess the 49ers season) "It's definitely been disappointing. Anytime you have the record that we have, it's a hand that we've been dealt and it's been tough, of course, especially when you lose your starting quarterback so early in the year (and) you lose your starting running back before the year starts. We really haven't had two games in a row with the same receivers in the same spots and we just haven't had a ton of continuity this year, which has been a battle. It has been tough, but I try to be as positive as I can about it. I do think we're going through this for a reason. I do think it can make us better. A lot of guys have gotten to play a lot that normally wouldn't be able to play and I hope that helps us find some things out about people this year and helps us build this team better next year and find out really what we're missing and what we need to add and who are the people that we're going to want to be around here to build this the right way."
(On Malcolm Smith) "Malcolm, we brought Malcolm here and I've always been a huge fan of Malcolm, just playing against him in Seattle (and) playing against him in Oakland. When we got here, knowing what we wanted to do with the scheme, he was one of the hardest guys for me personally to go against as an offensive coach just playing in this scheme. That was important to get a guy in here like Malcolm and when he got here, he started out great but he tore his (pectoral), missed the whole first year and then he came back to this season where he was going to come in and help us out big time but ended up hurting his Achilles before the year and kind of has battled throughout that. I think he did it about a week before training camp started and it's kind of set him back throughout the year. It's why he wasn't ready at the beginning of the year and we ended up starting Fred Warner, who's a rookie we took. Fred's just kind of taken hold of the defense and we've kept him in there. Malcolm was able to help us out by playing on the ball, playing SAM linebacker. I believe that's where he started out in Seattle. It wasn't his ideal spot but we wanted to get our best eleven (players) on the field and now that we – especially losing Reuben (Foster), now we've had to use him back inside. That's a spot that he's used to but the hard thing for Malcolm – he's been battling through an injury all year and there's lots of times where I haven't been sure if he was going to be able to play but I've been so proud of Malcolm in that no matter what, if he can go on Sunday he's found a way to get out there for us. By no means has he been a 100% all year but it's very important for us just to get him out there and help us out."
(On Mike McGlinchey's rookie season and his matchup with Frank Clark) "Mike's been great. He's been as consistent of a rookie as I've ever had. We put a lot of pressure on him starting him out right away. He's played throughout the year. He's played a few weeks through some tough injuries too. When he has gotten beat, he doesn't just go into a shell. He gets better as the game goes. He learns how to make adjustments. The game's not too big for him. He is a talented guy but he's very smart and he loves football. It's helped a lot. Just having a guy go through the whole year, he's never seemed to hit that rookie wall. He's been real upbeat and it's going to be a huge challenge this week. He's going against a very good player in Frank Clark and the hardest thing about Seattle is they've always had some good rushers. I know Frank is their best one now and they're always a lot better when you put them with that crowd noise. It's going to be a huge challenge for Mike, just like it is for any tackle who plays in that stadium."
(On how big of an issue the turnover differential is proving to be) "Oh, it's been huge. I mean, our defense, I think we've played a little bit – numbers-wise and everything – similar to Seattle. We had a middle of the pack defense and both of our offenses, we haven't done a lot throwing the ball but Seattle is number one, I believe, in running and I think we're fourth right now so we've depended on the run a lot. We've been middle of the pack on defense, which usually gives you a chance to be in every game but when you're turning the ball over like we have and not getting the turnovers on defense, that makes it really tough to win and I think our record shows that."
QB NICK MULLENS
Is there anything you've gone through in your football career that you could use to get ready for the environment in Seattle? "Yeah, you could say that. I've played in a lot of the most prominent stadiums in the country as far as college football goes. So yeah, obviously it has the reputation that it has in CenturyLink, and it's going to be cool to play there. But, we're excited and ready to attack the opportunity and really just focus on us and how we execute."
Being around, obviously last year you didn't play, but knowing Seattle's defense from last year and running it in practice, how has that defense with a lot of new faces changed what they tried to do? "Yeah, definitely. Every defense is going to present new challenges. Their personnel has obviously changed over the years. But, they're very strict and sound. We know exactly where they're going to be at in terms of landmarks and things like that. But, at the same time, they're going to mix things up when you get into some different personnel and things like that. So, we just have to be ready for what they throw at us and really just focus on us and how we execute."